‘Interfaith dialogue can bring peace to the world’


Religions do not absolve humans of their responsibility in the world and for the world.

The Document on Human Fraternity, signed last year by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, is proof that “what unifies believers is much more than what divides them”, the personal secretary to the Pope said in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

Monsignor Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, who is also the member of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity Council, was speaking on Tuesday at the forum to celebrate the first anniversary of the signing of the historic document on February 4 last year.

“The document is a road map for a better future… to rebuild the torn humanity.”

It is hailed as the most important document in human history and a blueprint for collaboration between faiths.

Describing the document as a ‘lifeboat’, Gaid also said it is a call for all thinkers, philosophers, politicians, leaders, artists, creative people and media to “reinvent the values of peace and witness peaceful coexistence”.

Quoting the rich diversity of nationalities living in Abu Dhabi, Gaid said God created a diverse world and true believers will know that all creatures belong to the same source.

“Diversity is there because it is the will of God. To fight against diversity is to go against the will of God.”

Gaid said the worship of God without respecting every human being, especially those who are vulnerable, is not real worship.

“Human fraternity is not just a value. It is the main root without which we cannot reach God. It is a reality.”

Achieving peace

In his opening remark, Patriarch Bartholomew 1 of Constantinople of the Eastern Orthodox Church spoke about the importance of interreligious dialogue in promoting world peace.

“It is our duty to promote interreligious dialogue because there is no peace in the world without peace among religions. And there is no peace among religions without interreligious dialogue,” he said.

The Patriarch raised concerns on how the unprecedented changes and challenges facing the world is spawning a reevaluation of the role of faith. “The acts of fundamentalists support the characterisation and even identification of religion with division and intolerance. So the essential dilemma of humanity nowadays is not between religion and no religion… but what type of religion.”

He said the revival of religions should be based on their genuine ability and contributions to reconciliation and solidarity, and that religions can make use of their ‘precious spiritual inheritance and philanthropic vision’ to promote interreligious dialogue and tolerance.

“In our times, the credibility of religions depends largely on their commitment to interreligious dialogue, peace and solidarity.

“Genuine religion cannot betray earth for the sake of heaven; the present for the sake of future.”

He said religions do not absolve humans of their responsibility in the world and for the world, and for true believers, faith is a peaceful approach to resist injustice and work for social cohesion and solidarity. “The solution must be based on projection of human dignity and social justice.”

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